I want to give a shout out to the Pennsylvania-Delaware Affordable Housing Management Association and IREM Delaware Valley Chapter for inviting your humble Fair Housing Defense Blog editor to the Maintenance Matters conference held last week at the Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia, PA.  We spent a good part of the morning reviewing important fair housing training points as well as discussing how service and leasing office apartment professionals can assist in avoiding fair housing complaints.  For me, the best part of these training sessions is when I get questions from the audience to hear what issues are on the minds of our team members.  Sure, it takes a few minutes for that first question to be asked, but once the dam breaks — the session takes off.  I never know exactly where these events are going to turn.  Last week, we spent quite a bit of time dealing with parking, including the number of handicapped spots that must be in a given lot, the number of van accessible spots, access to community doors, parking fees, verifications for handicapped parking placards, and designated handicapped spots.

Service and leasing office professionals are literally on the front lines for us each and every day.  They have the most direct interaction with our residents.  While those interactions are almost always good for resident relations purposes, from time to time residents make reasonable accommodation and/or reasonable modification requests directly to our service team members.  And while formally responding to those requests is not typically in a service manager’s job description, the service team members need to know what information to give to the community manager.

Again, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to apartment management professionals.  Indeed, the point of fair housing training is to do our best to get it right and to avoid formal complaints.  However, as complaints are indeed filed to time to time, training also helps me defend each and every case.

Just A Thought.